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Stop AIRBNB from renting out our apartments!

Write to the Portland City Council to prevent Airbnb from renting out our apartments. Educate yourself on these issues in the articles below, including my letter to the City.
Housing stability is of the greatest importance to all of us, and in particular low income renters.

Please call or write to the City Council with the following information.

Dear Mayor Hales and City Councillors:

The Portland Biz Journal reports that the City Council is due this week to consider approving Airbnb apartment rentals. This is BAD NEWS for landlords, renters, and affordable/low income housing. Please oppose this dangerous trend. Below is an article about how Airbnb is cheating New Yorkers out of affordable apartments. Short term rentals such as Airbnb wants to have in apartment complexes are a safety threat to tenants who need to feel safe at home.

There are already illegal Airbnb short term rentals of apartments. Making them legal will not stop the illegality of some people who seek to take advantage of other tenants by renting out their apartments. Please do your homework and read this link, as well as the article I have here on NYC.

 link to www.fastcompany.com

a Section 8 renter

cc: Community Alliance of Tenants
Airbnb's threat to affordable housing
The website is taking thousands of units off the market


We live in one of the most densely populated cities in the world. Yet the number of housing units New Yorkers can afford is shrinking while rents are skyrocketing and wages are flat, making New York City ever more expensive for the average New Yorker.

Now, even as Mayor de Blasio makes an admirable effort to bend the trend lines, affordable housing in New York City faces a new threat that's wrapped in the sheen of tech innovation: Airbnb, the website and app that makes it easier than ever for people to rent out rooms or whole apartments for short periods of time.

In 2010, numerous other affordable housing advocates joined forces with our elected leaders to pass legislation that prevented landlords from illegally renting out their residential units as hotels.

At the time, landlords were evicting residents from affordable units and single-room occupancy buildings, opting to make more money by renting the residential units as unregulated, cut-rate hotel rooms, undermining the rent laws that protect our affordable housing and creating public safety issues.

With the advent of Airbnb, the problem has suddenly gotten far worse.

Now, with Internet access and a few minutes to spare, any New Yorker can effectively become an illegal hotel operator. According to the New York State Attorney General's Office, approximately two-thirds of the 19,522 New York City Airbnb units are being rented in violation of the law that prohibits apartment rentals lasting fewer than 30 days with the owner not present.

The service has created a dangerous underground market, which has led to increased public nuisance, decreased public safety and diminishing affordable housing stock.

Airbnb's effect on affordable housing is felt most seriously in the neighborhoods where the issue is most critical. First, there is a high concentration of Airbnb usage in neighborhoods where affordable housing is scarce and rents are most expensive (like Midtown, the Upper West Side and Greenwich Village).

Second, there are high concentrations of Airbnb usage in neighborhoods where double-digit rent increases are forcing out longtime residents (like Bed-Stuy, Harlem and Williamsburg).

And if the attorney general's numbers are accurate, more than 13,000 units in New York City are being used as illegal hotels where they could be used as housing units.

Airbnb is sending a clear message to city landlords: You can make more money renting your vacant units on Airbnb, taking precious units off the market. And Airbnb is effectively encouraging tenants to violate their leases, which could put unsuspecting New Yorkers in jeopardy of being evicted.

In the meantime, Airbnb has done next to nothing to address this issue, preferring instead to gloss over its harmful effects with an expensive, slick advertising campaign.

Sure, using Airbnb to rent out a vacant room when you're home, and make a little extra money in the process, is helping some New Yorkers pay their rent but the rent wouldn't be so high if Airbnb weren't breaking the law and taking thousands of apartments off the market, and if the city were more forcefully and consistently enforcing this law.

If we can't count on our leaders in Albany and City Hall to stop Airbnb from gutting the illegal hotel law, we can't trust them to renew and strengthen the rent laws that expire in June of 2015.

If they do nothing, vacancy destabilization and illegal hotels will eliminate the remaining rent-regulated apartments. The "tale of two cities" will get grimmer than ever.

Benjamin is executive director of the Met Council on Housing. Westin is executive director of New York Communities for Change.

don't rent. buy 16.Nov.2014 06:29


If you can't afford to buy in Portland then move to where you can afford to buy. Otherwise you will always be someone else's crop to be harvested.


No distinction between long and short term rent 16.Nov.2014 09:09


There should be no distinction between long and short term rent. The city already has control over how much you pay for water, arts, street repair(soon) and such - they shouldn't be able to control the length of time you are able to rent out your home.

Also, the city tacitly supports squatters rights. If you choose to not pay your rent you can continue to live there almost indefinitely with no consequence - this is one of the may reasons people are reluctant to rent out their property. With very few exceptions, airbnb is a safe alternative for landlords to keep their investments. I agree with the other writer, if you can't afford to live Portland then make more money or move.

The single biggest problem with the lack of section 8 housing is how they are often exploited by capable people who choose to not work (and contribute like a normal person) leaving those who truly need the housing out on the street or forced to move. Literally anyone can get section 8 housing - you simply lie on the application, the people who run that system are eager to get as many "clients" as they can.

"If you can't afford to buy in Portland then move to where you can afford" 16.Nov.2014 13:11


Where would that be? Detroit?

Most people cannot actually afford to buy houses anymore, of course. And they don't ordinarily own them; the bank does, and mortgage payment is simply glorified rent.

"There should be no distinction between long and short term rent." Zoning has been everywhere since the constitutionality of zoning ordinances was upheld in 1926, and has always distinguished between homes and hotels. Who wants to live next to a hotel where just anybody with bedbugs can come and go?

"If you choose to not pay your rent you can continue to live there almost indefinitely with no consequence..."

No, the sheriff comes and orders you out, just like in the case of a mortgage foreclosure. If that were true, renting would be far better than buying. Plus a bad rental payment history reported by rental credit agencies will prevent you from finding any new rental.

"Literally anyone can get section 8 housing - you simply lie on the application..."

Of course not. disabled people, for example, have to be receiving some benefits granted by agencies that require very extensive medical documentation.

There are hardly any jobs left anyway, except perhaps for paid internet shills.

Where would that be? Detroit? 16.Nov.2014 14:38



You cant' always live where you want. Maybe I want a view of the Ocean with Lanai in the background, but guess what, I can't afford a view of the Ocean with Lanai in the background.

You want to live in Portland (where the young go to retire) and have someone else finance your lifestyle, and not your a pissed that it aint happening the way you want it to.

Your right. You wouldn't survive a real city like Detroit.

Pissy, aren't we, "J"? 19.Nov.2014 14:38


You don't know what you're talking about. rents are so high people have to live 6 or more to an apartment, and housing costs are unreachable. The reason for this is the continued cooperation of the government with predatory banksters, and the continued outsourcing of jobs.

As for the blatant ad hominem about not being ballsy enough to live in Detroit, well, you go, "J"! I moved from Texas to Cascadia many years ago, and have no interest in living in the Midwest, or anyplace else but here. But thanks for the Detroit slur.

Sue S

coaster 21.Nov.2014 16:52


apparently you picked a handle that describes your work ethic. You also betrayed your level of education by not knowing the difference between the letter I and the letter J. (I comes before J in the alphabet by the way).

the fact you are stacked up 6 deep pleases me to no end. (don't get pregnant from a blood relative..)

there are many places to live in the United States that are very affordable. The fact that you choose not to, is not our problem.

I'm sure Texas was quite happy to rid themselves of you, and I doubt the Midwest would suit you either.

No more outsourcing, President Obama just in-sourced about 5 million who are now legit, and work much harder than you and for far less, and a lot more are hopping on the train and headed north to eat your lunch, So please make sure you have enough room to stack another 6 just to keep your head above water .. Good luck.

LXmdtTtidZovmBmbFNM 10.Jan.2015 06:53

UONFRHVMnSWBXTPGdTj varlog255q@hotmail.com